Beer Reviews – April 2012

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This set of beer reviews is inspired by the idea of keeping your brew brethren in mind. In this small boozing city of ours, we are commonly linked by our enjoyment of finely crafted libations. We need to keep our guards up and fight the evil piss-beer powers that be, and more importantly, promote growth of the industry by sticking together! So with that in mind, it is only appropriate that we talk about collaborative beers that unite both local enthusiasts and out-of-state supporters.

Red as Hell Ale
Brewery/Brand: Utah Brewers Cooperative
ABV: 5.5%
Serving: 750 ml Bottle
Description: This hellish brew pours a crimson red color with an off-white head that fades off with some lacing around the glass. The nose opens up with a biscuit-like aroma, sweet caramel and a soft, earthy hop undertone. The flavor is mellow with a toasted malt backbone, and pulls through hints of fruit and caramel in the end.
Overview: Getting my hands on this brew was a task to say the least. The Bayou and Beerhive were flying though the stuff. With a brew being released by one of the more popular local radio broadcasts (X96’s “Radio From Hell”), they could not have put this in the brewing hands of anyone better than the guys at the Utah Brewers Cooperative. This red is malt heavy and too easy to drink—I highly recommend it!

Ready to Fly Amber Ale
Brewery/Brand: Shades of Pale Brewing Co.
ABV: 4.0%
Serving: 22 oz Bottle
Description: Ready to Fly comes out of the bottle an amber/red hue with a foamy off-white head. The aromatics open up to an American-hop-dominant character of citrus and pine, with a balanced amount of caramel toast. The taste is a complex and flavorful compiling of caramel malt and grapefruit American hop with a dry, earthy finish.
Overview: This beer was a lightly run bottled brew by SOP for the US Women’s Ski Jumping team. For such an outstanding beer, it hurts to see this come out on such a limited basis. This is a well-balanced amber ale with tons of flavor. Its overall balance meets kickass standards in my book. The Utah session beer is so heavily understated in the days of the high point bottle craze, but it’s brews like these that keep my drive going for the love of the 4%.

CoHoperation India-Style Rye Lager

Brewery/Brand: RedRock Brewery
ABV: 6.9%
Serving: 500 ml bottles
This unique, collaborative beer pours crystal-clear, tawny gold—not yellow—with a thin but persistent lace of white head.  Behind this seemingly benign facade lurks a massive flavor, first hinted at in the aroma of fresh, fruity hops, some flowers and some light cookie or sweet-sugar notes. The first sip is a surprising wave of blueberry and blackberry that fades into juniper and then pine as the hops take over. The rye malt makes its presence known as a spicy dryness, which combines with the resinous feel, leaving a deliciously sticky sensation on your lips and tongue.  All of these elements together come off fresh tasting and refreshing.
Overview: Holy crap, another collaboration beer in Utah?  Red Rock worked with Oregon’s Pelican Brewery to create this genre-bending lager.  Hoppy, but smooth and complex without seeming crowded or loud, this beer will leap across party lines and make friends out of opposed groups of beer drinkers.  The key is how the diverse elements—an extra grain, lager yeast, and both European and Oregon-grown hops—are used by brewers Kevin Templin and Darron Welch to create a balance that’s greater than its parts.  I’ll endeavor to drink at least half this batch myself.  Cheers to Oregon! Cheers to Utah! –Rio Connelly